On my 21 hour jaunt to the Washington DC area earlier this week, I had the honor and privledge of having GPS in my mafia car. I typically don’t get GPS in my rentals because they’re either not available or I already know where I’m going (I’ve been in SF-Oakland enough now where I’ve pretty much got it figured out). In this case, however, the area was pretty foreign to me and I had a couple of different places to be. One was to pay a visit to a relative I’ve connected with online and grab some dinner. Upon calling him and letting him know I had a GPS, he just gave me his address and that was all I needed. No “turn here” or “make a left at the Mobil.” So nice.

While walking on the street, we were discussing the true beauty of GPS devices when it occured to me that as GPS devices proliferate our lives more and more, I could envision a time when physical street addresses will actually become less important or even a relic, like vinyl records. I blurted out that in a few years, we’d be able to just assign each house or location the equivilent of an IP address and when you “give someone directions” all you need to do is give them your coordinate.

Of course, this means the mail system would undergo some type of crazy upheaval and yeah, it seems horribly impersonal to have your house reduced to a pile of random numbers. But, hey, we’re all just numbers. Social Security has been around for multiple generations now. The mail pretty much works by zipcode only. Your car is tracked via VIN. I could go on and on…….but it was an interesting little bit of conversation and one that made me think.

Oh, by the way, the GPS saved my ass! Is Rand McNally still in business?